June 15, 2015 Letters
YLD Wellness Program
I heartily applaud the Young Lawyers Division’s health and wellness initiative, as spotlighted in Associate Editor Rawan Bitar’s May 1 article, “Judges support YLD’s health and wellness initiative.” We would all benefit if that initiative was expanded to our general membership.
The wisdom of the judiciary shared in the article focused on the toll stress takes and the value of exercise. Conspicuous by their absence from the health and wellness discussion, however, were diet and nutrition.
In law school, as in practice, unhealthy convenience and fast foods tend to dominate most of our diets. This is a key reason why overweight and obesity are rampant across our profession.
Unfortunately, neither stress management nor exercise alone are adequate to combat the elevated risks of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc., that accompany overweight and obesity. Proper nutrition, from a healthy diet, is essential.
If we are serious about improving our profession’s health and wellness, we must also raise awareness among our ranks of the indispensable role that good diet and nutrition play in it. And collectively embrace enhancing our diets and nutrition in our workplaces, in the various institutions, facilities, and other venues where we serve our clients and communities, and along the various routes we travel between them.
Admittedly, this goal can be daunting in the context of our often frenetic practices and long-established standard operating procedures. Yet it can be done, even when our YLD days are but distant memories.
I know this. Because several years ago, while in my late 40s, I lost 91 pounds without surgery or drugs, while conducting a busy, demanding, and stressful family law litigation practice.
I’ve kept it off for about four much healthier, happier years now.
Further, there are indirect professional/business benefits, good for our bottom lines: a) reduction in health insurance premiums, sick days, periods of disability, and practice interruption; and b) improvement in productivity and focus, confidence and presentation, attitude and outlook, marketability, marketing, etc.
Let’s all be healthy and well.
Thank you so much to Rawan Bitar and the News for the coverage of the YLD’s health and wellness initiative.
Negotiating the professional tight rope we’ve come to call the work-life balance can sometimes feel like we’re Nik Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls. I’m glad the Young Lawyers Division has prioritized this journey for their members. Because of the article, I was invited to attend YLD Health and Wellness Month events in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. So, thanks also go to Amy Nath, Alex Haddad Palermo, and Shavarne Dahlquist for including the OLD’s in those two events.
At the Tampa event, I had a chance to learn about nutrition; do more jumping jacks than I’ve done in 20 years; and learn how important maintaining mental health fitness is to the successful practice of law. The Pinellas event was jointly sponsored by the St. Pete Bar YLS, the Clearwater Bar YLD, and PFAWL. At this event, my spouse, Woody Isom, and I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday morning learning how to paddle board on the bayou near Crisp Park in St. Pete. Well done, YLD!
Judge Claudia Rickert Isom
While the Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar judicial campaign fund solicitation case has First Amendment overtones and ramifications, it really is a judicial conduct matter.
The prospect of judicial candidates, whether an attorney seeking election to the bench or a sitting judge seeking re-election at the end of his or her term, making personal contacts either by letter, email, or face-to-face, places the prospective donor in a psychologically intimidating position.
A lay person may fear retribution when coming before the candidate who becomes a new judge or successfully runs for re-election to the bench. A practicing lawyer solicited in this matter is a sitting duck who dares not make a generous contribution in fear of possibly appearing before that judge in the future.
However, when a judicial campaign committee member solicits a donation from anyone, lay person or lawyer, there is small possibility of de facto intimidation because the judicial candidate is one step removed and would only know the names of donors and the amounts donated.
The Florida judicial canon forbidding judicial candidates to directly solicit campaign funds preserves the nondonors right to remain anonymous.
David P. Carter